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Anheuser-Busch InBev has reported a steep drop in sales of its Bud Light brand after a collaboration with a transgender TikTok personality and actress prompted a conservative backlash in the US.
The world’s biggest brewer said on Thursday that US revenues dropped 10.5 per cent in the second quarter. The weakness in the key market was “primarily due to the volume decline of Bud Light”, it added.
Sales of Bud Light, which had long been the top-selling beer in the US, tumbled for several weeks after a marketing collaboration in April with Dylan Mulvaney led to calls for a boycott and hit sales.
The controversy caused AB InBev to end the partnership and place two executives on leave.
Its struggles in the US marred an otherwise resilient quarter for the brewer, which reported overall revenues climbed 7.2 per cent as it managed to pass on price increases to customers.
The Belgium-based brewer insisted on Thursday that despite the controversy, it had surveyed 170,000 consumers and found that 80 per cent had a “favourable or neutral” view towards Bud Light.
But rival brands have already capitalised on the boycott, with Modelo Especial dethroning Bud Light as America’s best-selling beer in June.